SBD/6/Leagues Governing Bodies

BASEBALL AT MID-SEASON: S.I. CHECKS IN WITH A PULSE READING

     With its cover story on baseball, the July 10 issue of
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED examines the dilemma facing some erstwhile
baseball fans:  How to reconcile anger at the sport with the fact
that the season is turning out to be "fantastic."  Tom Verducci
writes, "Like an ocean tide, baseball churns on relentlessly, its
pull on you greater beneath the surface than above.  That hasn't
changed.  Baseball's quietest season offers its own pleasures.
You don't know what you're missing.  Or do you?" (SI, 7/10).  In
L.A., Ross Newhan writes, "Declining attendance continues to
affect nearly every franchise, but time seems to have eased some
of the hurt.  Approaching the symbolic midpoint of a delayed
season, the damage has become tougher to measure."  Newhan
reports that a new marketing department will be opened in MLB's
New York office with successful local promotions tried "on the
national stage" (L.A. TIMES, 7/6).
     OFF-THE-FIELD:  In a separate piece, SI's Verducci writes
that, after months of silence, labor negotiations between owners
and players "are about to get more difficult."  Braves President
Stan Kasten:  "A lot of teams are digging in more and more as
this goes on.  The economics have changed too much since March."
Verducci reports that one group of owners, led by the White Sox's
Jerry Reinsdorf, is actually pushing for a return to the salary
cap, while Red Sox CEO John Harrington can only hope to have a
deal "maybe by Thanksgiving or into December."  Giants Owner
Peter Magowan:  "It's scary.  On the other hand, the players
ought to be able to see it:  The revenue isn't there anymore."
According to Verducci, the owners have split into three groups:
hard-liners, moderates and doves.  Some of the doves -- "ready to
sign just about anything" -- want Bud Selig and his "small-market
agenda" out of the way.  Harrington puts that faction at "two or
three.  They'll never have a majority" (SI, 7/10 issue).
     ALL-STAR UPDATE:  In Ft. Worth, Kathryn Hopper reports that
demand for tickets "isn't as hot as in years past," but local
ticket brokers believe that could change.  Hideo Nomo could be a
draw, particularly among West Coast fans and Japanese
businessmen.  But Barry Lefcowitz, head of the National
Association of Ticket Brokers, calls the game "a flop."  MLB
spokesperson Rich Levin:  "It's a sellout. ... As far as we're
concerned, it's a success" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 7/6).  A
N.Y. POST header picked up on Lefcowitz's comment:  "ALL-STAR
GAME'S 'A FLOP'" (N.Y. POST, 7/6).
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